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Planning, Architecture & Civil Engineering: Finding architectural drawings

Finding architectural drawings in journals and books

Books on architecture and articles in architecture journals often include illustrations, such as sections, elevations and other architectural drawings. Search the databases below for details of relevant books and journal articles. Then check, if the books and journal articles are available in the library.

Please note: Only a few architecture journals are available online. Most are shelved on Floor 2 in the McClay Library. For help finding journals, ask at the Enquiry Desk.

Useful books

Featuring more than 100 significant and influential houses of the 20th century, including works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Tadao Ando, Rem Koolhaas and Glen Murcutt. For each of the houses included there are scale plans showing each floor, together with elevations, sections and site plans where appropriate.

Table of contents (PDF)

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Precedents in Architecture is also available as an e-book. Check the library catalogue.


Featuring more than 100 significant and influential buildings of the 20th century, including works by Le Courbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Alvar Aalto, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas. For each of the buildings included there are scale plans showing typical floors, together with elevations, sections and site plans where appropriate.


Featuring 95 significant buildings of the early 21st century, including works by Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, OMA and Frank Gehry. For each building there are scale plans showing a combination of floor plans, elevations and sections as appropriate.

Table of contents (PDF)


Featuring 87 influential modern housing designs of the past 100 years. Each project is explained with a concise text and photographs and scale drawings, including floor plans and site plans, sections and elevations where appropriate.

Table of contents (PDF)


Featuring around 150 important buildings from the pyramids and Parthenon to some of the most significant works by recent architects. The buildings are organized by type, from places of worship and public buildings to houses. For each building there are scale drawings showing a combination of floor plans, elevations and sections as appropriate.

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals

This is one of the best places to find journal articles which have architectural drawings. Please note: Books are not included.

  • Select "Advanced Search" and enter the name of the building or architect you are interested in.
  • Then limit your search by "Document feature" (this option is further down the page). Depending on the type of drawing you need, useful selections include elevations, plans, sections etc. Select as many as you like.
  • Click "Search".
  • The "Results" list will show you articles which have relevant illustrations.
  • Print the results list or email it to yourself. Then check, if the articles are available in the library, by searching for the source title (AKA publication title) on the Library catalogue.

RIBA British Architectural Library Catalogue

The online catalogue of the British Architectural Library at RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), which holds one of the world’s foremost architectural collections. Using the catalogue, you can find references to journal articles, books and exhibition catalogues which include architectural drawings.

  • Select "Advanced Search" and enter the name of the building and / or architect you are interested in, in the relevant search box.
  • Then enter the type of drawing you would like to find in the Keyword(s) search box, e.g. sections OR elevations OR plans

  • Check the results. You can see more information about results by clicking “Details”.
  • Select relevant results and print the list or email it to yourself. Then check, if the articles are available in the library, by searching for the source title on the Library catalogue.

PADDI: Planning Architecture and Design Database Ireland

PADDI is one of the best databases for finding books and journal articles about Irish and Northern Irish architecture. You can search for journal articles and books which include sections, plans, elevations, photos and other types of illustrations.